Objective To provide an independent monitoring report examining the ongoing impact of Australian self-regulatory pledges on food and drink advertising to children on commercial television.
Design Analysis of food advertisements across comparable sample time periods in April/May 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2011. The main outcome measure comprised change in the mean rate of non-core food advertisements from 2006 to 2011.
Setting Sydney free-to-air television channels.
Subjects Televised food advertisements.
Results In 2011 the rate of non-core food advertisements was not significantly different from that in 2006 or 2010 (3·2/h v. 4·1/h and 3·1/h), although there were variations across the intervening years. The rate of fast-food advertising in 2010 was significantly higher than in 2006 (1·8/h v. 1·1/h, P < 0·001), but the same as that in 2011 (1·5/h).
Conclusions The frequency of non-core food advertising on Sydney television has remained essentially unchanged between 2006 and 2011, despite the implementation of two industry self-regulatory pledges. The current study illustrates the value of independent monitoring as a basic requirement of any responsive regulatory approach.